2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 109
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 63

When looking at the 2010-2011 schedule for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, anyone can see it will be an uphill battle to reach seven wins. Tough games against Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State and USC jump out, but there are few easy wins on the schedule. For a team in transition, this could spell big trouble.

Only two starters from last year’s offense are gone, but that may not be a good thing. Minnesota’s offense averaged the least amount of points scored and yards gained of any team in the Big Ten. To make things worse, the Gophers lost their best player in wide receiver Eric Decker.

Minnesota Golden Gophers College Football Cheerleader

Quarterback Adam Weber started off strong in his freshman year, but has only regressed over the last two years. He threw for more interceptions than touchdowns last year, but that may be partially due to a weak offensive line.

The line ranked 113th in the country in sacks allowed and Minnesota’s running game was the worst in the conference. Leading rusher Duane Bennett returns, but don’t expect too much more than his 395 yards rushing in 2009.

There aren’t any household names in the receiving corps, so we’ll see if the Gophers will be able to move the ball at all this season.

The defense showed some signs of improvement last year, but all but two starters are gone. The two “returning” starters, both safeties, may not actually play this season for Minnesota. One suffered an injury and could miss significant time and the other was recently suspended. As hard as it is to believe, Minnesota could have 11 new defensive starters on opening day. No matter how good the replacements are, they will have struggles early and often against good offenses.

Minnesota is a team that looks to be in for a long season. Both the offense and defense should be one of the worst in the conference, maybe even the country. The Gophers will be lucky to get 5 wins in 2010.

Minnesota’s odds to win the Big Ten: +3000

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